Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Zuckerberg comments on Cambridge Analytica scandal

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Facebook came out with the news that they had been releasing information about their users to a professor, for academic purposes, who later brought the data to a third party, such as Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Anatlytica is a data firm with clear connections to the Trump Administration. By releasing this information, Facebook has violated their own policies. It has become evident that Cambridge Analytica had used the data they acquired from Facebook to advertise Trump's campaign. This is a clear controversy over how the security of social media is, and how the companies secure the trust of their users. This is clearly an intrusion of privacy, as one has the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches. I believe that Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg need to face consequences for these actions and for clearly violating their own policies that the users have agreed to follow.  Do you believe that technology and this particular case falls under the fourth amendment? Share your thoughts!

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Trust Between the People and the President

When we look at our president, do we turn our eye or fight alongside him? When someone is in need do we run or or do we fight? Supposedly the president's primary goal is to build a sense of trust between the people. Yes we may not agree with the president in certain times, and so we speak out. But we still try to build that trust.  Yet our former president seems to break that trust. Instead he tries to lie through the public, not from his voice, but from another man's voice. Yes, president Trump is trying to complete on of his goals he publicized in his candidacy and that is the deportation of many immigrants. When it comes down the deportation of immigrants he is mostly targeting the "Mexicans" (Hispanics) and the "terrorist" of our country. He states that he is deporting these people for the safety of our country, yet he does not think of the effects it may take in our country. James Schwab a former spokesman decided to resign/quit for the reason that the man could not bear the pain. The man was sick of the exaggerations that Trump and his administration were declaring upon the numbers of immigrants they have recently deported. It all started when Donald Trump decided to send an immigration raid on the Bay Area. Libby Schaaf, the Democratic mayor of Oakland decided to warn the public before the raid took place. This angered Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump, and other ICE officials because they supposedly failed to catch another 864 immigrants: "Acting ICE Director Thomas claimed 864 'criminal aliens' escaped arrest, and Trump railed that close to 1,000 people would have been swept up ... Sessions accused the Oakland mayor of promoting 'a radical open-borders agenda'" (Willa Frej, HuffPost). James Schwab saw this claim as a lie and rejected to publicize it. James "quit because [he] didn't want to perpetuate misleading facts. [he] asked them to change the information. [James Shwab] told them that the information was wrong, they asked [him] to deflect, and [he] didn't agree with that. Then [he] took some time and [he quit]" (James Shwab). The number of immigrants was not the only effect, but the accusations that supported Trump's statements during his campaign. To know that if the lie were to be publicized, it would change the mind set of many people. Seeing the reactions of fear and victory. If James were to resign our future would of been different. I honor the men for the heroic act he has token for our country. The man has sacrificed his position in order for us to know the truth.  Do you believe that James' decision was the right thing to do? If you were in his shoes, what would you do? Knowing this, did it change your perspective of our president? Should we give our president a second chance?

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About Libby Schaff

x Fourth Austin package explosion this month possibly detonated by trip wire, leaving 2 injured, police say

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According to Austin Police Chief Don Manley, another package explosion has occurred in Austin, Texas. This is the fourth one of the month. While the first explosion occurred on March 2, 2018 and was originally seen as an isolationist act, now there has been three other occurrences spread out through the month. This threat could be due to the recent South by The Southwest festival, but it isn't likely. Based off the evidence, I believe that these events might be the act by group of people rather than a single person, as most likely it cannot be one single individual causing all this damage in such as short amount of time. It has also been said that these events could be due hate crimes, as only African Americans and Hispanics have been attacked. A connection has been found between two of the attacks, as one of the victim's stepfather was really good friends with another victim's grandfather. However, I believe that this connection was a coincidence, as the attacker(s) have also attacked two other times with other people who don't have a connection with the others. What do you think? How important are these crimes to the rest of the world? Are these attackers purposely attacking specific people? Are they purposely committing hate crimes? Why do you think the attackers are using the same method of attack?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

China reappoints Xi Jinping as president with no term limit

Last week, the National People's Congress (NPC) scrapped term limits for the president and vice president. This weekend, China's parliament unanimously voted Xi Jinping as president, highlighting how little opposition there is to his rule. Xi now holds an enormous amount of power; he has minimized collective leadership and concentrated power into his hands. Chinese officials justified extending Xi's presidency by arguing that a more centralized leadership will ensure stability. This most directly relates to the efforts by Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong to centralize power in the USSR and China in the 20th century, respectively. I personally believe that extending Xi's presidency will ensure economic stability, because centralized power might help economic growth and facilitate economic decisions, but having one person control the government would become a problem should Xi's vision turn out to be ineffective. What does the elimination of the presidential term limit mean for China? Will this change actually help ensure stability, or are the officials' justifications insincere? Should other countries be concerned about Xi's increasing authority in China? Should other countries adjust their policies to China? And if so, how?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

70-year-old man removed from plane after 'racially abusing' flight attendant

In my opinion this airline had every right to kick off the passenger for making racial remarks at one of the flight attendants, who happened to be African American.  Racial slurs should never be tolerated and nobody should ever have to be quiet about it or ignore the situation.  I think it was a great thing that the Captain told the ignorant passenger he had to leave.   Lately there have been a few other incidents where passengers have been made to leave for reasons that I don't think are fair or right.  For example, when a mother and her baby where made to leave because her child was crying.  I feel that wasn't the right thing to do. Babies cry when they are scared of uncomfortable, it's normal and it may be annoying, but it isn't threatening or endangering passengers.  Another thing that recently happened was a father and his two year old child had to leave the plane because his two year old child was terrified and wouldn't sit in his/her seat.  I feel they could have been more patient in that situation.  In my opinion, if a person is disrespectful, dangerous, violent or racist, they shouldn't be allowed to stay, but if it involves a scared or crying child, they shouldn't be made to get off the flight.  Do you think the flight crew did the right thing by making the racist man get off the plane? And if not why not?

America's Excessive Drinking

PHOTO: Bottles of liquor sit on a bar in an undated stock image.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was reported that 37 million adults drink excessively, another term for binge drinking. Binge drinking can kill people, including the lives of 88,000 Americans per year. Men tend to drink five or more alcoholic drinks within a two hour period, while women have at least four drinks. In a survey by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, it was said that from 17.5 billion binge drinks consumed every year, 4 out of every 5 drinks were consumed by men. The consequences of binge drinking include unintentional injuries, interpersonal violence, and suicide. It also can affect our health including alcohol poisoning, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and liver disease. To reduce excessive consumption of alcohol, I propose increasing alcohol taxes and regulating the sale in certain areas. For anyone below 21, I suggest we promote greater education about alcohol and emphasize the repercussions of it. This issue can correlate back to the temperance movement in the 1800s. Because men weren't efficiently completing their duties, the availability of alcohol gradually decreased and became harder to acquire. Many women emphasized the abstinence of alcohol because it pertained a bad influence towards their families as men were failing to work and harming their wives and children. What's your opinion towards binge drinking? In what ways can the government or the people prevent the immoderate consumption of alcohol? What are possible methods to reach out to the youth and ages between 18 and 21?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Banning Underage Marriages in Florida

On March 9th, Florida passed a bill banning underage marriages. A legislative study stated that from 2012 to 2016 there has been over 1,828 licensed marriages; marriages with minors from ages 13-15. Currently, the law states that minors need to be at least the age of 16 to marry. However, they are allowed to marry at any age with parental permission. But, if a pregnancy is involved, they are allowed to marry at any age with a judge's approval.The new bill states that minors of age 17 are allowed to marry, if their partner is no more than a two year difference and must have parental consent. Sherry Johnson who was forced to marry her rapist at age 10, has been working for over six years to ban underage marriage. She gave birth a year later and then had to marry her rapist because her mother was pressured by to give consent. She lived in this abusive relationship for many years. Johnson’s goal is to protect children from these situations coming from her own experience. She believes that with this bill being passed, children will not have to go through a same experience.

Here are some questions to think about! What responsibilities does a marriage require? Do you think that the age should be increased or decreased? If rape is involved, what should the conditions be? Do you think teenagers at this age are considered responsible enough to get married? If they are considered responsible, do you think the age for drinking and voting should lower down to 17 as well? What if you were the parent? Would you let your child get married? Would you let them get married to their rapist? What if they were pregnant? Are younger marriages more bound to end up in divorce?

NRA Sues Florida to Block Part of New Gun Law

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The NRA is suing the state of Florida over a bill recently passed which raises the minimum age to purchase a rifle, from 18 to 21, bans bump stocks and puts a 3 day waiting period on purchasing a firearm. The NRA claims that this violates the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans to bear arms and self protect. As we know, the 2nd Amendment was created to maintain a well regulated militia in the 1800's. Personally, I believe the measures which Florida is taking are absolutely necessary to insure public safety in general as well as school safety. While Florida is placing more restrictions on who can bear arms, in order to provide security for Americans, it does not abolish the 2nd Amendment and therefore I see no reason for this lawsuit to occur. What do you think about the NRA's lawsuit? Do they have grounds for suing Florida?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Trump unveils gun control, school safety plan

Recently, President Trump released information on his proposed school safety plan. It consists of putting armed veterans and retired police officers into schools with weapons to protect the students. I believe that this plan will be very successful and deserves to be implemented. When someone commits a murder by running someone over in their car, you don't blame the car, you blame the person, and possibly law enforcement if it was committed by an unstable person. But, when a school gets shot up, we blame the gun, not school safety or law enforcement. If we applied this logic to cars, we need to take away all the non hybrid cars because 70% or road rage incidents are committed by gasoline powered cars. This would result in taking away law-abiding citizens rights and property, and quite frankly, that is unjust. We cannot do the same for guns, banning all AR-15's stops 3% of mass shootings, but takes away over 200,000 previously purchased guns, that is very ineffective, I believe we need to stop the issue at it's source, and tighten up background checks, and make schools safe first. What are your thoughts?  

President Trump agreed to meet Kim Jung Un by May

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It is being reported that President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with Kim Jung Un at a location to be determind no later than May. While I think that this meeting can help to improve our not good relationship with North Korea and lessen tensions between the two countries their are downsides that need to be considered. A meeting with Kim Jung Un would gain added legitamicy to his evil regime, also I am weary of what type of deal Trump could get out of this. North Korea through their history has used ICBM (inter continetial ballistice missle) testing to get the west to make concessions. Most notably in 1991 when North Korea agreed to freeze their nuclear program in exchange for cash from the Untied states, and that deal did not work out well for the US as North Korea restarted their nuclear program soon after. I think for these meetings to be a success President trump would need to get a deal that not only protects US interests but secures peace and security in the region short and long terms. A good deal in my opinion is North Korea denuclearization with US monitoring in exchange for removal of sanctions on North Korea, added legimacy and maybe some troops removed from south Korea. this deal will take away North Korea's biggest bargaining chip as well as giving Kim what he wants in US troop removal with out allowing for instability in the region. A poor deal would be North Korea denuclearization for complete American troop removal. If US troops are removed from South Korea it would allow North Korea (with potential backing from China) to force South Korea into it's sphere of influence in trade and defense which could lead to another Korea war. What do you think of these talks? Do you think that trump could reach a deal with Kim Jong Un? if so, What to you is a good Deal?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Bannon: 'Let them call you racists'

This is why there is such a misunderstanding between people in the world. Bannon is taking this word that has been used to describe those who misunderstand and generalize those who are not like them. He is excusing this ignorance that is indirectly hurting thousands of people. The French National Front has been very vocal about trying to reduce immigration, especially Muslim immigration. This comes from the misinterpretation that all Muslims will be terrorists which is certainly not true. These ideas parallel some of Trumps proposed ideas. I'm not saying that the US and France should let in immigrants willy-nilly, but entirely stopping immigration because of racist views is not right. The whole point of words like "racist" and "nativist" are to be used to criticize their derogatory views. By saying that being "racist" is a badge of honor is a travesty. I understand that he is saying it in a context of them just caring about their country, but this is the wrong way to go about it. While I somewhat agree that, while admirable, globalists won't be able to achieve that much, I don't think that being a "nativist" is the solution. The reason that globalists won't achieve anything is because there are too many people who are too passionate about their beliefs. They aren't willing to set aside their differences and egos to come to a compromise. That's just human nature though, it's not really anyone's fault. The point is that, while getting along with every country is too optimistic, shutting out everyone else is not how a country, especially one of the world powers, should act. As seen many times in the U.S's history, immigrants have helped stimulate the economy and overall improved the lives of our citizens. Without immigrants, we wouldn't have ATM's, basketball, denim jeans. Not to mention the railroads that thousands of Chinese helped build, the thousands of Latinos that helped American agriculture, and the many other cultures that worked in factories to help make white people rich. So many things that Americans hold near and dear to their hearts were built from the backs of immigrants. To be proud of thinking that all stereotypes are true is disrespectful to all of those who have helped our country so much. Yes, this was toward the French National Front, but Bannon is going to take this view to the US and with our problem with white nationalists, there will be more controversy that honestly shouldn't happen. What do you think? Is it okay that Bannon is somewhat redefining the words that are supposed to be used to criticize those who's views are antiquated? What are your views on how immigration has affected the US? What would happen if we stopped immigration all together?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

North Korea's Kim Jong-un meets South Korean Envoys

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In this handout image provided by the South Korean president's office, Kim Yong-Chol (2nd right), vice-chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, talks with South Korean delegation in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo: 5 March 2018

Delegates from South Korea, Suh Hoon and Chung Eui-yong, recently traveled to North Korea in pursue of their ongoing effort to create peace with North Korea. Another underlying reason was due to the gradually worsening relationship between the US and North Korea. With the combination of previous experiences, such as the Korean War, and the threats directed towards each other between Trump and Kim Jong Un, the relationship between the US and North Korea indeed have been in an unhealthy state. However, when Trump was proposed with the opportunity to consult with Kim Jong Un with this issue, he reiterated that Pyongyang must "denuke" before anything could happen. Kim Jong Un stated that it was absurd that Trump would propose any preconditions for their consultation. Do you think that it was rationalized for Trump to demand these preconditions, or was it Justified for Kim Jong Un to be upset?